Day 1 and 2 of Fantastic Voyage to Africa!

Thursday, April 04, 2019
Oribi Gorge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Today we set off on our month-long mission to South Central Africa.   This is the longest that we had ever been away to this part of the world. We will visit our brethren, ministers in South Africa, Zambia and Malawi.  All areas are developing well, but contact and visits are necessary to maintain this.  We have invested in several humanitarian projects that need looking after. 
Aaron Dean and his wife Michelle came by at 7:15 am to take us to the Cincinnati airport.  I’m not feeling well as a pain is growing in my stomach.  I asked Aaron to anoint me before we walked out the door hoping this would go away quickly.
Our first flight was to Washington DC where we had an almost 6-hour layover. Our other option was one with a one and half hour layover on this leg, but if we missed our connection, that would really jeopardize our trip.
The pain intensified through the day. We spent the day in Turkish Airlines Lounge and I was miserable wondering how long this bug would last. 
We boarded our flight and took off on time at 5:40 PM.  It was the first leg of our flight to Accra, Ghana.   I had nothing to eat and welcomed the blanket and sleep and slept five straight hours. When I awoke I felt wonderfully different!  We landed in Accra, Ghana after a 10 hour flight for what amounted to a fuel stop.  People got off and others got on and in short order we were off again. For an almost 6 hour flight to Johannesburg where I slept another two hours.  I wish we had the time and capability of getting off in Accra here for a few days to visit with the Ghanaian leaders and brethren, but this was just a transitory stop.
We were met at the Johannesburg airport by Arthur and Gail Fisher. What a wonderful reunion!  He is now the elder in the Johannesburg and Bloemfontein congregations.  Roy Demont from the Durban area is the overall pastor of all the congregations in South Africa.
We have a three hour layover before our flight to Durban. We spent a most enjoyable two hours in a café reminiscing and talking about the congregations.  We have visited with them several times on our previous travels and have become quite fond of them.   Since his ordination, Arthur and Gail had been wonderful servants in this church. 
Johannesburg has about 50 in attendance and Blomfontein with 15. 
He is doing a great job in developing leadership in both congregations and has eager and developing leaders soon to be deacons and beyond.  Our first priority is to point the Church towards its Vision and Mission.
Vision of the United Church of God:
A Church led by God’s Holy Spirit, joined and knit together by what every member supplies, with all doing their share and growing in love to fulfill God’s great purpose for humanity to bring many children to glory (Ephesians:4:16; Hebrews:2:10).
Mission of the United Church of God:
The mission of the Church of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations and care for those disciples.
He fondly spoke of leaders Simba and Kevin in Johannesburg and Ben in Blomfontein.  The church is still adjusting the loss of deacon Jason and Monique Webster who have moved to Queensland, Australia.   
Our challenge here as well as all areas of the world is the future development of the Church in two areas:
1.     Ministerial education in doctrine and practice.
2.     Developing new leaders.  First, identifying them and secondly training them.
If we have these in place, we have a clear path to the Church’s future as we work with those whom God the Father calls.      
After being with the Fishers for a few hours we took the one-hour flight to Durban. There we were met by Roy Demont as well as Vivien and Cathy Botha. 
Then a one and a half drive to Roy’s home.  We talked and talked and after a nightcap collapsed after being in transit almost two full days.  Some consider this hardship. We love it!
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Comments

Myers Steve
2019-04-07

Praying for a very profitable trip. Please extend our love to all!

Sandy Abrell
2019-04-07

I am praying,for God, to bless you both and keep you safe. Sending my love , to you and asking that you share it , with all the brethern.

Lorraine Barnett
2019-04-07

Oh dear, I was concerned when you said that you had pain in your stomach. Praise God that He took care of it in short order! Will be praying for the health and stamina of you both as you serve God's very precious people!

2019-05-24